Student Life‎ > ‎

All Is Fair In Love & Law

The Elements of Emotions

As law students and future attorneys we are taught to be analytical thinkers, to examine the details of everything. For instance if we want to charge someone with battery we have to define what battery is with elements and from there define the elements. In many circumstances we have to further describe the definitions of the elements i.e.:

Battery is to have the intent to commit or intentional infliction of harmful or offensive contact; putting forces in motion that cause the contact. Broken down it reads: (1) intent – meant to do it on purpose, knowledge with substantial certainty it was going to happen, transferred intent, (2) harmful contact - acts intending to cause a harmful or offensive contact with a person, third person, an imminent apprehension of such contact, and harmful contact with the person of the other directly or indirectly results, (3) Offensive contact -judged under circumstances influenced by the governing societal morals.

The unique facet about laws like battery is that they are defined by elements which means that each element has to be satisfied; if one or more of the elements cannot be met then you lose your case. So what about when someone you’re dating tells you you’re too emotional or calls you judgmental. Do you define emotional? Do you define the things people call you and defend yourself against them? Emotional is simply defined as: (1) subject to or easily affected by emotion (2) showing or revealing very strong emotions (3) actuated, effected, or determined by emotion rather than reason ( It certainly upsets people to be identified as something they do not like. It is safe to say that most people do not respond this way. However, as a law student do you find yourself defining everything and arguing like this?

Do people who date law students and lawyers stand a chance when we start defining emotions?

-Yvet Vaughn

Stop and Frisk?

In Criminal Procedure, a “stop and frisk” is based on reasonableness and requires a dual inquiry: Are the officer’s actions justified at inception and is the stop and frisk reasonably related in scope? The governmental interest are balanced against the degree of intrusion. Crime prevention and officer/public safety is weighed against if the stop and frisk limited in scope to the pat down for weapons?

A stop and frisk also begs the question of reasonable suspicion: is the stop justified to investigate possible criminal behavior even though there is no probable cause for arrest and is the frisk justified if confined to intrusion designed to discover weapons?

Aren’t these the same questions you ask in relationships? It can be seen that a “stop and frisk” means to search someone, but in relationships when you search someone, their home,and the coup de grace – their cell phone – are you crossing a line? When you’re invested in a relationship you have a strong interest and a right to know what is going on with your partner and what they are doing, so what kind of intrusion is too much? Should you simply ask your partner to search through their things or take an officer’s approach and “stop and frisk”? Keep in mind that although an officer may “stop and frisk” a person their frisk may not be upheld in court if they cannot point to reasonable articulable facts. If you cannot give a reasonable explanation as to why you’ve just plummeted through your partner’s cell phone and rummaged through their drawers maybe you are wrong for searching through their things.

Many would say, much like the Fourth Amendment, that everyone has a right to privacy for themselves and their personal effects. However, if your partner has committed acts in the past or that natural intuition kicks is that enough to point you to reasonable articulable facts and satisfy reasonable suspicion?

When is it okay to “stop and frisk” our significant other?